World Cup Semi-Final England vs Croatia
This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 11th, 2018
And so here we are then. After all that fuss, all those ‘root and branch’ overhauls, countless managers, players and suits. And all it took was a middle-class chap in a waistcoat. Who knew. England are astonishingly in the last three of the World Cup, and could not have asked for a easier fixture than Croatia, at this stage of a tournament.
Yes it is the toughest opposition England have faced so far, but that is only because fortune in the semi-final draw, follows fortune at every other stage. England could reach a final without playing any former winners, as Argentina managed to do four years ago.
And indeed, Croatia won’t just roll over. And in Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, they have two players who would contend for any team in the world. But pretty midfielders need some players around them to make a difference, and it is here where we believe Croatia fall short.
The defence proved suspect at set pieces in the previous round, something England will certainly be keen to take advantage of, and the possibility of Vedran Corluka playing will certainly impress Raheem Sterling. Their line-up also isn’t as settled as England’s, and their two shifts of extra time will have taken it out their legs. And although Mario Mandzukic has moments of brilliance, it is fitting that he knew very little about his only goal of the tournament so far.
In short, its coming home. Until we get spanked by Mbappe on Sunday. Take Paddy Power’s 13/10 on England to reach the World Cup final – it may never be as short again.